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Scottish government adds agent of change to planning law

By | Published on Tuesday 20 February 2018

Live Music

The Scottish government last week announced that it would update its planning policies in line with England and Wales, meaning that the ‘agent of change’ principle will be introduced in all three countries. This will force property developers to protect new property developments from noise created by existing venues.

In a statement, the Scottish government said the new guidance recognised “the cultural and economic contribution of Scotland’s music industry, as well as the importance of live music to the vibrancy of our town centres and to our night-time economy”.

The UK government announced plans to update the National Planning Policy Framework, so to include agent of change, in January, following pressure from campaigners. However, this policy only applies to planning laws in England. In Wales, plans to implement the change were already announced in May last year. As a result, music industry reps in Scotland began their own campaign to have the law changed there.

“The Scottish government recognises the significant cultural and economic contribution of our music industry”, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart told The Scotsman. “It is only right we do what we can to protect the established and emerging musical talent and that is why we are embedding the ‘agent of change’ principle in our planning guidance”.

He continued: “Music venues should not have to make high cost changes or deal with expensive disputes because of new developments. Developers will be responsible for identifying and solving any potential issues with noise, giving residents of new homes a better quality of life and allowing our music venues to continue to operate”.

Chief Planner John McNairney has reportedly written to all local authorities in Scotland asking them to “act now” on the changes to planning rules.



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